Don’t Let Our Blind Ambition….

Today’s post has a personal an historical context, and there is a message to be gleaned, but it’ll be more challenging than most posts to figure out.

One of the best ways to have peace at midlife is to have deeply-rooted relationships.

Tonight, there are a bunch of Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers (50-year olds) reuniting near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a 30th anniversary celebration.

While attending West Chester State College (later West Chester University) 1977 – 1983, I became a “founding father” for a fraternity that earned it’s charter in 1980.

Mind you, I ain’t really the fraternity type, but the ten fellas who where chosen to start the “colony” where my friends, fellow Physical Education majors. Ended up being president (still wondering why) of the Beta (2nd) pledge class.

It took a year and about 36 young men to make it happen.

There is something remarkable about laying the foundation for something versus joining something already in place, without all the blood, sweat, tears, and bonding that occur from an overwhelming challenge to do what hadn’t been done before.

Through the years, this core group of founding fathers have had annual gatherings.  We were all single in the early years, but gradually wives and children started showing up.

Toso, Benny, Brad, Hop, Rick, Cort, Howard and a few others where the glue that kept the communication open and alive for three decades.

This Jimmy Buffett song, Cowboy In The Jungle, is dedicated to the Penn Tau founding fathers:

Don’t let our blind ambition, erase our intuition. Trying to cram lost years into two or three days.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. There is and was much more to our relationship then most people realize. As you know when people come together to achieve a goal a bond connects them forever. Sports teams, fraternities, & business partners can develop life long friendships through working together unselfishly to be the best they can be. Physical, emotional & spiritual lifelong bonds. It’s a beautiful thing.

  2. It’s one of the most important life lessons that I’m passing on to Chapin.
    It’s so easy (and I’m like the worst offender) to lose contact and let a year turn into two and so on.
    You, with those early Cape May retreats and then Toso (and whomever else deserves credit) with the Algonquin State Park labor day weekend gigs, and all the other things Penn Tau has done and continues to do – PRICELESS.
    Thank you Carl, for getting the habit started in New Jersey. 🙂

  3. As I prepare for tonight, my mind drifts back to the person that wrote me a letter during that summer of 1980 and gave me the hard sale to join the colony during the upcoming fall semester. THANK YOU JEFF!! I can remember how you described the brothers and how you thought I would benefit from joining them. Wish I still had the hard copy of the letter, but now it is only good memories. Words will never be able to describe how much I have benefited as a person by being part of the greatest group of “balanced men”. So many memories and they are still continuing. Must be impossible for outsiders to understand. But, WE DO!!

  4. Rick, wow, no recollection of the letter you describe. However, I trust that your memory is accurate. 🙂
    You may not realize it Rick, but this comment you left feels like another message from God, to keep on trying to make a difference.
    Looks like 30 years ago, it was part of the landscape.
    We have some awesome memories. What’s amazing is that not one of the original 36 (?) turned out to be a bad person.
    Have fun tonight. Please tell everyone, I wish Cheryl and I could be there.

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